Honggoo Kang

1956 · Republic of Korea

Artist biography

Since the 90s, Honggo Kang((b. 1956, Shinan, Mokpo-si, Korea) captured the ulterior facets of the capitalist society through digital landscape photography; hereafter 2009, he went back and forth from Seoul and Busan as he documented the increasingly perishing images of their neighborhoods owing to urbanization and redevelopment. From then on, he commenced his method of layering acrylic colors upon canvas-printed black and white versions of photographs he took. Here, two aspects are evoked from Kang’s gesture of covering up a photographic image with acrylic paint: First, a deep-rooted distrust towards the photographic medium—i.e. a doubt of the visible subject or a chronicled truth, and second, an uncanniness generated from the artist’s gesture(painting) of enclosing the subject.

The vulnerability of the image(information) is bluntly exposed by the split screen and the paint upon it, and the original image concealed below the paint requests an act of voluntary judgment and imagination to the viewer. Kang’s manipulation of this sort alludes to how our society is yet another product of our society’s manipulation, and the process of exploring Kang’s control becomes the course of tagging along Kang’s line of thinking. Simultaneously, the works do not meekly approve of the desire to consume the images as plausible artworks hung on white cube walls of galleries, ceasing its engagement with those kinds of active thinking. Mundane scenes of the everyday are defamiliarized through images artificially fabricated into black and white; and the subjects struggling to seek their original color in the artist’s hands degenerate into artificiality, eventually turning into “natural” images awkwardly striving to acquire “naturalness.” This bizarre attempt instills an uncanniness that arouses the sense of guilt, discomfort, and fear triggered by an unknown cause.

Honggoo Kang studied in Mokpo Teacher’s College in Korea and received his B.F.A and M.F.A of fine arts in Hongik University in Korea. He held solo exhibitions Study of Green-Seoul-Vacant Lot, ONE AND J. Gallery, Korea (2020); Frost and Mist, ONE AND J. Gallery, Korea (2017); Cheongju-City of Seven Villages, Wumin Art Center, Korea (2016); Under Print: A Sparrow and Jajangmyeon, ONE AND J. Gallery, Korea (2015); House of Human Being-proxemics Busan, Goeun Museum of Photography· Wumin Art Center · ONE AND J. Gallery · Trunk Gallery, Korea (2013); Study of Green, ONE AND J. Gallery, Korea (2012); Gloomy House, Memory and Document, Goeun Museum of Photography, Korea (2011); The House, ONE AND J. Gallery, Korea (2010); Vanish Away, Mongin Art Center, Korea (2009). Participated in duo exhibitions City We Have known-Photographs by Honggoo Kang & Area Park, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, Korea (2015); Manner of Escape - Honggoo Kang, Choi Jin Wook, Gallery Lux, Korea (2015); Old Dog and Rolling Stone - Honggoo Kang, No Soon Tak, Gallery King, Korea (2009). Selected group exhibitions featuring his artwork The Possibilities of Urban Regeneration: Partnerships, Seoul Urban Regeneration Gallery, Seoul, Korea (2019); Wanderers: A Video Chronology, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea (2019); Frames after frames: Modern Photography Movement of Korea from 1988 to 1999, Daegu Art Museum, Korea (2018); Samramansang from KIM Whanki to YANG Fudong, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea (2017); SeMA Gold <X: In the Nineties Korean Art>, Seoul Museum of Art, Korea (2016); Mille-feuille de camellia, Arko Art center, Korea (2016); When Words Fail, Hite Collection, Korea (2016); Peace Voice Nice, Gyeongnam Provincial Museum of Art, Korea (2015); The Relics of Old Seoul, Seoul Museum of Art, Korea (2014); Dictate, Doosan Art center, Korea (2013); Korean Art: An Era of Grand Navigation, Busan Museum of Art, Korea (2013); Thousand Villages, Thousand Memories, Seoul Museum of Art, Korea (2012); Seoul, City Exploration, Seoul Museum of Art, Korea (2011); Contemporary Korean Photographs 1948-2008, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea (2008). Work by the artist is held in museum collections, including National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Art Bank, Korea; Seoul Museum of Art, Korea; Busan Museum of Art, Korea; Samsung Leeum Museum, Korea; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours, France; Art Sonje Center, Korea. He published books such as “The story of art, which meet out of the museum 1,2”(1995); “The beauty of ordinary things-20 years after”(2018) and he was a director of Goeun Museum of Photography from 2018 to 2019.

Honggoo Kang

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